By Mark McConville
NOSTALGIC pictures have revealed how Brighton looked around the turn of the twentieth century as it started to become the popular daytrip destination it is today.
The incredible images show the Royal Pavilion in 1846 when it was still a Royal residence, the popular Brighton pier and interior of the famous Hippodrome where Harry Houdini, and many other great stars from the Victorian and Edwardian periods performed.
Other stunning shots show the Corn Exchange during the First World War as it was converted into a hospital for wounded Indians, the clock tower being unveiled in 1888 and the Grand Hotel which many see as Brighton’s most attractive seafront hotel.
The black and white photographs are showcased in a new book, Brighton From Old Photographs, by Christopher Horlock and published by Amberley Publishing.
“Brighton then was obviously a very different place to what it is today,” said Mr Horlock in the book’s introduction.
“A lot has changed, many buildings and streets demolished and a huge amount lost just to the vicissitudes of time.
“The photographs in this book show Brighton at the height of its Victorian and Edwardian popularity with visitors, and when it was a busy workplace for many of its residents.
“Civic pride was deeply felt and the mindset of people totally different to today. It shows a world, now gone forever, that was much simpler and moved at a pace far removed from the gadget-strewn, consumer-driven lifestyle we follow today.”
Most of the photographs in this book come from the collection of the author, which was started in 1968.
Mr Horlock has tried to provide an accurate representation of Brighton during this period although acknowledges there are omissions.
“The photographs have been selected to show the main streets, key buildings and amenities of Brighton, plus its piers, seaside attractions and other entertainments, from the 1840s to the beginning of the First World War,” he explained.
“The earliest photographs date from when the railway had just reached Brighton and the town was receiving its first ‘trippers’.
“These visitors sought entertainment and diversion, resulting in a mushrooming of Brighton’s resort attractions including new hotels, the West and Palace Piers, Volk’s Railway, theatres, circuses and early cinema, plus the staging of sporting events like the seafront speed trials,
the London to Brighton Veteran Car Rally and the formation of Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club.
“All these feature in the book. There are many omissions – the author is very aware of them.”
Chris Horlock is a retired schoolteacher who was born (1953), brought up and educated in Brighton, living at White Street, off Edward Street.
Brighton From Old Photographs, by Christopher Horlock, is published by Amberley Publishing. The paperback is available now for £12.99.